global Cologne German market_92699032A Day To:

Prepare to mail parcels to UK addresses.

Visit a Christmas market.

(Scroll down for the day in detail)

Watch:

“Gavin and Stacey Christmas Special” (2008) is as close to the ideal festive comedy special as you will find. The Sunday Times declared that it was “brilliantly written, perfectly timed, immaculately performed” and we can only wholeheartedly endorse that review. Ruth Jones and James Corden both co-write and co-star in the BAFTA-winning BBC sitcom and somehow take the series to a new level of excellence with this episode, which was first shown on BBC1 on Christmas Eve 2008. It has the initial excitement of the Welsh contingent gathering to travel to spend Christmas with the Shipmans (accompanied by Chris Rea’s “Driving Home For Christmas” – what else?), along with last minute shopping, a grand Nigella-inspired feast, a good old sing-song, a right old barny, some reconciliation, beautifully choreographed gift-opening and a surprise proposal. And that’s just the half of it. Watch and have yourself a merry little Christmas now. (TV Magic: A lop-sided game of Battleships has Ness declaring: “I can read you like a book, Stace.” Pam Shipman, disappointed to receive Christmas cards on Christmas Eve, reveals she sends her cards out in early November to give people a good seven weeks to enjoy them.)

And from the movie realm…

“Get Santa” (2014): starring Jim Broadbent, Rafe Spall and Kit Connor. What’s this? Santa on the run from the police? Santa in Prison? We could be talking Bad Santa II at this rate. But no, this is a much gentler British comedy with family appeal. The wonderful Jim Broadbent stars as Santa Claus, who needs the help of nine-year-old boy Tom and his Dad Steve to save Christmas when he ends up ‘inside’ after a sleigh crash, while his reindeer roam loose in London. Broadbent also voiced Santa in the 2011 animated movie “Arthur Christmas”– capturing perfectly the incompetent Malcolm Christmas, Arthur’s father. Rafe Spall plays Steve, Kit Connor his son. Warwick Davis, Jodie Whittaker and Stephen Graham also star. Directed and written by Christopher Smith. Locations include Yorkshire hubs Leeds, Bradford and Wetherby, where the town hall becomes the Albatross Theatre. (Movie Magic:Jim Broadbent delivers joy as he superbly brings Santa to marvellous life. His interactions with the prison inmates are priceless, as is his ‘transformation’ in to the bad ass prisoner.)

Ponder:

“Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it ‘white’.” 

Bing Crosby (1904-1977), American singer and actor

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Listen:

“Baby It’s Cold Outside” by Leon Redbone (from “Elf” Soundtrack);

“O Holy Night” by Luciano Pavarotti;

“Stop the Cavalry” by Jona Lewie.

Learn:

Did you know…the first Trafalgar Square tree donated by Norway was brought over in 1947 as a thank you for Britain’s help and friendship during World War II? Ever since, the giant Norwegian spruce has been given annually to the City of Westminster by the City of Oslo. After German invasion in April 1940, the Norwegian monarch and government moved to London for the duration of the war.

The Day in Detail:

Christmas market 67856701Mrs. C says: The Christmas parcels are piled up in the hallway, ready for me to post to my family and friends across the UK tomorrow – the people I will not see this holiday season, alas. So please think about getting your packages together ready for the post as well, so you can hopefully beat the post office rush first thing in the morning…and avoid the possibility of missing the UK deadline for parcel deliveries. You will find those cut-off dates on our Posting & Packaging page.

Ed Elf: I’ve got two goldfish in a bowl to send to my friend in Wycombe. Better get round to sending them, then. Hope I’ve got enough bubble wrap.christmas market stall 157503014

Mrs. C: I might need to escape him today and visit a Christmas market. As it’s a Sunday, I’ll also make an early start with this. It’ll be busy. The markets have been a tradition for many years on the European continent, but have become ever more popular on British shores in recent years. Indeed, they are now firmly established as part of UK Christmas tradition.

Ed Elf: It’s the gluhwein. Brits love a beverage, no matter how you spell it – or how it tastes.

Mrs. C: Well, I’m not averse to a little mug of gluhwein myself. Just to warm the cockles you understand. The most famous of all the Christmas markets is in Nuremburg in Germany and many other German cities and European destinations host tremendously festive markets of their own. You can read more on domestic and international markets on our City Lights & Markets page. If you haven’t arranged a weekend break abroad for this time of year, then pick a major city here in the UK and make a Christmas market day of it with family and friends. There are more towns and cities staging Christmas markets in the UK each year than ever before. You could also check details at christmasmarkets.com.

Conifer and berries 64686097So today’s the day to:

  • Prepare to post your Christmas parcels to family and friends in the UK who you won’t be seeing over the holiday period.
  • Visit a Christmas market in your area and enjoy a mug of gluhwein.